THE CARNIVORE needs no introduction: fearsome, cold and brutal. They are driven to kill simply because of their hunger. Its instinctual. Yet they aren’t overly aggressive. They simply are who they are.
On the other hand, the prey is the complete opposite. They are desperate, rushed and afraid. The prey is stressed-out, anxious and overwhelmed. Their heart rate is racing with anxiety.
The predator is calm, hungry and highly focused. Every bit of their thought is on sinking their teeth into their dinner. Their mouth is watering. Their breathing is calm.
This is high level Wing Chun… calm, cold, collected and driven.
And this is exactly what the art can create within you. That is, if you let it. If you submit to it. And if you allow yourself to become Wing Chun.
As one of my mentors told me, “you don’t learn Wing Chun. You become Wing Chun.” And you become Wing Chun mentally, physically and emotionally. Yet it all starts with the mind.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t physical elements to attain. However, it is the development of the Wing Chun mindset that aligns with your nerves, muscles and bones that creates the whole . And it is the mental approach that will ultimately make the difference.
So now that we’ve established that the mind is the key to developing good Wing Chun, how do build your mentality? How do you develop your mind and build yourself from a place of desperation, like the prey mentality, into a mental position of power, like the predator?
The very first step is to wholeheartedly decide to follow the Wing Chun path. Unfortunately, many people are unable to give Wing Chun their all.
In other words, Wing Chun isn’t a class you take a couple times a week. In order for it to transform you, it has to become a part of your daily life.
Wing Chun is meant to be integrated it into everything you do. From the way you think, feel, stand and move, Wing Chun will make you better at it, if you can embrace it.
However, submitting fully to the path of Wing Chun is no easy task.
In fact, its one of the hardest things we’ll ever do!
Our fears, insecurities, and most often, our egos get in the way. Whether it is a lack of confidence in ourselves or in the art itself, students prevent themselves from truly getting good. What’s so difficult about learning Wing Chun is that the student must learn to believe in the possibility of things before they can see them. Wing Chun’s subtle and elusive capabilities only reveal themselves over time. The student must be able to trust in their teacher and in their teacher’s ability to guide them to possibilities beyond what they can currently see. No easy task. But make no mistake, the difference between those who reach higher levels, and those who don’t, is quite often their ability to align their mind with the Wing Chun path.
The next step is to do the work. There is a natural, subconscious resistance to putting in hard work. Add in the student’s thought that they are blindly following their teacher’s advice and you have an even bigger resistance. This resistance is so strong that it can take on a life of its own and pull the student in opposing directions. It is this resistance that makes students look so hard to find shortcuts in order to try to progress faster instead of just doing the work. What makes this more difficult is that we don’t even realize that this resistance is there most of the time. We just don’t feel like training.
However, Wing Chun teaches us to let go of resistance, in all forms. Instead of letting this resistance control us, we must instead focus on making ourselves more penetrating. This begins with having a very clear goal in mind. Having a clear goal of what you want to accomplish, makes us much more sensitive to our own resistance to it. And once we become aware of it, we can learn to overcome it. It can be difficult to become more aware, but if we make an honest, continued effort, we can learn to dissolve it and see resistance for what it is… simply another way of “chasing hands”.
The next step is to show up! Others have excuses for not showing up. But the solutions, like Wing Chun, are surprisingly simple. Those who get good at Wing Chun show up. They show up consistently and continually. They are not consistently great at any one thing other than being great at being consistent.
The last step in developing the Wing Chun mind is learning how to focus. A student must work diligently at cultivating the ability to specifically focus on what they are doing. They can not allow themselves to be distracted from their target. Developing this ability is an absolute requirement in order to be able to remain to your opponent’s center despite what they are doing. And it’s crucial to being able to remain calm, cold, collected and driven regardless of the level of aggression an attacker brings.